Tuesday, July 17, 2018

BYU Rugby Undergoing Changes

One of the biggest college rugby programs is making some changes. The coaching staff of BYU has resigned in response to changes from the school. Now former head coach David Smyth, in a lengthy letter explaining why he left, noted that the moving of the program from the Extramural Sports Program to the Student Life Department was a key reason for the departure of he and his staff. One of the key changes was that Smyth felt the move made it difficult to keep the same standards the team has shown over its history. 

How this impacts BYU going forward is up in the air. They had arguably their most disappointing season in a number of years last year and while they are still supported strong on campus there isn't the same type of momentum behind them. Maybe the resignation of the staff will prompt a change from the administration. 

Take the jump to see the letter from Smyth. 

Earlier this week news broke that I, along with the rest of the BYU coaching and support staff had resigned from our posts at BYU rugby. At the time, I was out of town and in an area with very limited cell coverage. Since the news was made public, I’ve had many phone, text and email messages. As such, I feel it appropriate to shed some light regarding the actions that I took last week, and also, to offer thanks and gratitude to many people.

In 2011 the extramural sports program, of which the rugby team is a part of, was moved into the Student Life department. That change made it difficult to run the rugby program with the standards we were used to. Simply put, our vision, strategies and goals for the rugby program do not align with those of the Student Life department. So, after thirty plus years of being a part of the BYU rugby program, I have decided to step aside and move on.

To all the players I have had the honor to coach, I say Thank You! I will cherish the many friendships I have made, along with the lessons that we learned together! The battles we won on the field were a result of your hard work, determination, and rugby skills that allowed you to perform so well! I have many fond memories of well-played games. I have the utmost respect for all of you. More importantly to me, are the successes you have enjoyed in your off-field lives as husbands, fathers and positive professional contributors to society.

To our alumni and fans, we couldn’t have done it without you! Thank you for all of your efforts, support and contributions on our behalf!

I am so very grateful to my fellow coaches who have been great teachers and examples to our players. Men like Mark and Dean Ormsby, Justen Nadauld and Kimball Kjar. The sacrifices these men made will never be fully understood by anyone, only myself! In the most recent years we’ve had some of our past players, Salesi Sika, Steve St Pierre and Derek Smith to name a few, come home to share what they’ve learned with our players. I am grateful to my mate, Wayne Tarawhiti who has brought much to our program, and who has so bravely battled health problems for the past couple of years. Thankfully he is still with us and getting stronger all the time! I also appreciate our recent support staff, Wes Tuia and Troy Galbraith…To all of these men, along with Mike West and Paul Stoneman, our fantastic medical team, I thank you!

To those of you whom I played with at BYU, I owe you a debt of gratitude for making my transition from God’s own country of Northern Ireland to this great country of the USA much easier. May we all continue to be legends in our own minds!

Finally, sincere thanks must go to my family; My wife who was always supportive in every way, and my children who all grew up with BYU rugby as a big part of their lives. Many of you continue to ask about Verla, she’s now cancer free and getting stronger all the time. Whilst her health and wellbeing will always be important to me, thankfully because of her recovery, her health was not a reason why I resigned from BYU.

Please know that I continue to be, and will forever be a BYU Cougar rugby fan!

With thanks and appreciation.

David Smyth

Go Cougars!

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